Keeping safety in mind with holiday gatherings
Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. (Photo screenshot via North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, YouTube)
With the holidays approaching, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is encouraging residents to keep COVID-19 out of their gatherings.
Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health says it’s important to follow all of the safety protocols and get vaccinated.
He also says with several nearby Health Units dealing with high case rates and enhanced measures, consider the risk of traveling to those areas.
“While our cases are low right now, I anticipate that they’re going to go up and we need to do everything possible to try to keep them down, to keep the curve flattened,” he says.
Dr. Chirico says the big difference between this year and last, when restrictions were put in place, is that so many more people have been immunized.
He says vaccines really work well at keeping people out of hospital and keeping them from getting seriously ill.
However, Dr. Chirico is not ruling out imposing restrictions, if necessary.
“When people decide to get vaccinated it’s really going to reduce the risk of transmission and keep our health system functioning so we don’t have to introduce any more regulations or restrictions, which we may have to do, it may happen,” he says. “We just want to do everything we can to keep the numbers down.”
The Health Unit recommends when hosting or attending a gathering:
Individuals who feel unwell cancel their plans, stay home and arrange to be tested for COVID-19.
All guests be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Individuals who are not vaccinated should wear a face covering and physically distance when gathering indoors with people they do not live with.
Gathering limits of 25 people for an indoor private social gathering are adhered to, or 100 people outdoors.
Food and drink establishments where dance facilities will be used operate at 25 per cent capacity. In public facilities where dancing is not involved, there is no capacity limit and proof of vaccination is required.
All individuals wash or sanitize their hands often, including during any handling of gifts.
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces often.
The host keep a list of guest names and contact information in case it is needed for contact tracing.
***With files from Richard Coffin